A Frieze article on Marc Camille Chaimowicz highlights the way in which rooms are autobiographies. How a certain room looks or the articles places inside it can tell us a lot about who lived within it. This is why historian thrive on the fact that a room tells a story of a persons life even after their death. Chaimowicz discusses the idea of a fictive portrait and I can understand why.
At Home: An Anthropology of Domestic Space (Irene Cieraad and John Rennie) discusses the idea of the Home as having a large social significance, How our home is presented tells a person a lot about our social position, physical health and individual wellbeing. It create a way to express our individual identity without even defining it though speech. Cieraad asks the reader what is the importance of decoration?. Why do we feel the need to cover our interior walls and windows? Why do we express our decorating and segregating practices in the domestic space? Are we creating here our identities.
I find these thoughts extremely interesting. Do we use the way we construct our interiors as a way of autobiographically archiving ourselves? I like to think of a room as an archive, a way of documenting our lives through trinkets, objects and possessions. We keep our most prize possessions close to us. This is what Chaimowicz highlights in his piece Jean Cocteau, a room created purely on poetic references.
Alongside this the notions of wallpaper are also of high interest to me. Wallpaper is easy to replace and therefore has not been thoroughly archived throughout history. In a lot of cultures it is considered to be a background rather than a foreground, however exceptions to this include Chinese papers and 19th French scenic decor. It plays a key role in decorative design and can indicate the function of a room whilst dictating a choice for other furnishings. In the early 19th century wallpaper was considered luxury commodity but has since then become a commonplace in the home. It is however the most durable fashion. Wallpaper has an odd lifespan as it is easily damaged, covered over and removed all together.
Heading forward with my project these are factors I would like to discover and explore further in detail.
Cieraad I, Rennie J, At Home: An Anthropology of Domestic Space, 2006, Syracuse University Press